Mental illness often interferes with a person's easy and spontaneous participation in a social unit. A therapeutic community heals hurts and teaches new social skills. It takes a community to help a patient. Virgil Stucker has been living with and for the severely mentally ill all his adult life. Perhaps better than anyone, he can tell us what works.
Inmate education seems like a controversial issue. Cast in economic rather than moral terms, however, there is plenty of common ground. The question is not whether inmates "deserve" to learn like the rest of us, but whether we all benefit if they do. According to every available measure, the answer is yes.
It seems not to matter that, like so many veterans of other ugly wars, the young people who experienced the brutal Drug War had only become soldiers in the first place because of a "poverty draft." It also seems irrelevant to most that the longer these young conscripts to the Drug War lived with its brutality, the more violent they themselves became.
"Doctors pulled the bullets out, patched me up and sent me back to the same neighborhood where I was shot. No one hugged me. No one counseled me. No one told me that I would be okay." If that emergency room treating Senghur had been trauma-informed, could he have been provided with the attention he may have needed and not have perpetuated the cycle of violence by eventually killing another man?